Joint Support Protocol from Dan Kalish, DC, IFMCP
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Supporting Healthy Joints
Joints give people the freedom to move through life without effort or constraint. But when joint health declines, stiffness and discomfort can limit activities of daily living. Millions of Americans are concerned about joint health, and many seek out natural ways to support their joint health.
Joint tissues are dynamic and continually renewing. This makes them vulnerable to the adverse effects of poor diet or inactivity, but it also makes them responsive to the beneficial effects of proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, and other therapeutic interventions.
Joint tissues include ligaments, tendons, cartilage, synovial fluid, a joint capsule, and bone. These dynamic tissues, in their ongoing processes of breakdown and renewal, respond to metabolic changes in the body.
There are two sweeping categories of metabolic patterns that adversely affect joint health: inflammation and oxidative stress. These conditions may stem from the gut, from altered immune function, or because of diet, lack of exercise and often from some combination of these factors.
The Integrative Approach to Joint Health
Depending on the individual, we can help support joint health by supporting antioxidant systems, a healthy inflammatory response, joint cartilage tissue, and the gut microbiome.
Antioxidant support. If testing shows that a person has a lot of oxidative stress, Kalish recommends supplementing a combination of antioxidants. Fat-soluble antioxidants include CoQ10, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Water-soluble antioxidants include vitamin C and glutathione precursors (like n-acetylcysteine). Pycnogenol is a specific antioxidant that has been shown to support joint health. “A broad-spectrum antioxidant supplement is a good place to start for joint support and we often see results with antioxidant support alone.”
Healthy inflammatory response. “Curcumin is one of my favorite supplements to support a whole-body, healthy inflammatory response, and let’s not forget it’s a potent antioxidant. Systemic enzymes can also be taken on an empty stomach for occasional joint support or exercise-induced discomfort.” says Kalish.
“Omega-3 fatty acids are popular supplements to support a healthy inflammatory response, but I caution practitioners against recommending these without testing. Some people have low levels of omega-6 fatty acids and will feel worse when they take omega-3s. A better approach is to test fatty acids and support the enzyme systems for proper fatty-acid metabolism.”
Support for joint cartilage. Supplements that support healthy joint cartilage include glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, collagen II, and hyaluronic acid.
“It takes time to see effects from certain supplements, so I give them three months before reassessment. At that point, adjustments can be made to reduce or remove certain supplements, which also gives insight into which are most important for that individual at that point in time.” states Kalish.
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Daniel Kalish, DC, IFMCP, is the founder of the Kalish Institute, an online practice implementation training program dedicated to building Integrative and Functional Medicine practices through clinical and business courses. His main teaching focus emphasizes lab interpretation and patient communication skills. Dr Kalish received his B.A. in physiology and psychology from Antioch College and completed his chiropractic degree at Life West. Kalish is the author of three books, “The Five Pillars to Building a Successful Practice,” “The Kalish Method: Healing the Body Mapping the Mind” and “Your Guide to Healthy Hormones.” Dr. Kalish is currently on the faculty of the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Practice Implementation Program.